Renal denervation in human hypertension: mechanisms, current findings, and future prospects

Curr Hypertens Rep. 2012 Jun;14(3):247-53. doi: 10.1007/s11906-012-0264-9.


Denervating the human kidney to improve blood pressure control is an old therapeutic concept first applied on a larger scale by surgeons in the 1920s. With the advent of modern pharmacology and the development of powerful drugs to lower blood pressure, approaches to directly target the sympathetic nerves were more or less abandoned. Over the past 2-3 years, however, we have witnessed enormous renewed interest in novel and minimally invasive device-based approaches to specifically target the renal nerves. The enthusiasm is fueled by promising results from proof-of-concept studies and clinical trials demonstrating convincing blood pressure-lowering effects in the majority of treated patients, and perhaps even more so by observations indicating potential additional benefits relating to common comorbidities of hypertension, such as impaired glucose metabolism, renal impairment, left ventricular hypertrophy, and others. Herein we review the current findings and assess whether these high hopes are justified.

Trial registration: NCT00483808 NCT00551304.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Denervation / methods*
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / surgery*
  • Kidney / innervation*
  • Kidney / surgery
  • Sympathectomy / methods*

Associated data